Compare and contrast the Code of Hammurabi and today's legal system.

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mkoren | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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There are some similarities and differences between Hammurabi’s Code and today’s laws. One similarity is that both sets of laws are written laws.  These laws cover many similar topics. For example, they include laws dealing with family matters, assault, and compensation. The purpose of the laws was to discourage people from treating other people poorly and from breaking the law. Some laws were considered to be reasonable. For example, if a person owed money to somebody, but a disaster occurred and that person couldn’t harvest any grain, then that person wouldn’t have to give any grain to the person to whom he owed money and also wouldn’t have to pay any rent for that year.

There are some differences between the laws. The laws treated people differently. The laws treated the wealthy differently than the average person. The concept of an eye for an eye is an example. If a man took the eye of a wealthy person, that man would lose his eye. If the man took the eye of a common man, he would have to pay a monetary amount. Another difference is that an accuser was required to bring the accused to court. Additionally, if a person jumped into the Euphrates River and returned to shore, that person was considered to be innocent. We don't operate like this in our legal system.

Both sets of laws have similarities and differences.